A dry sauna is a small room or building designed to offer hot air or a steam bath used by people for cleaning or refreshing themselves. Saunas have their history in Finland where they were designed to help keep the people warm. These saunas were built on a sloping land as holes on the ground.
Saunas have progressed from those times to different types but the dry sauna is still widely favored. So, what are the benefits of using a dry sauna?
What is a Dry Sauna?
Dry saunas can be divided into infrared saunas and traditional saunas. This type of sauna is mainly used for health benefits and after exercises. The heat is generated by pouring hot water on heated stones to produce steam.
The steam is a very hot inspiring perspiration in the occupants. It is truly a wonder how these saunas are designed to maintain a very hot microclimate that initially is believed to be fatal. The temperatures in a dry sauna can be at the boiling point of water.
The secret to making good dry saunas is to increase the heat and reduce the humidity. High humidity over a long period may not be healthy for any human being. The humidity is maintained to be low even when water is poured on hot rocks and vaporized. This is possible by letting the air in the sauna remain at the dew point.
It is important to note that the name dry sauna does not indicate any moisture. The steam in the sauna is referred to as wet steam. The name dry sauna came about because of the reduced amount of humidity in the dry saunas as compared to steam baths.
It is also good to mention that the preferred position in the dry sauna is lying on one’s back. With this position, heat is evenly and efficiently distributed in all parts of the body. A head wrap or sauna towel is advised to be placed on the head to protect it from too much heat. By covering the head, heat is spread to the rest of the body.
7 Benefits of Using a Dry Sauna
As stated earlier, saunas were traditionally meant to warm the people in Finland during winters. With the development of technology and modernity, more benefits have been discovered. They include:
1. It lowers the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease – this is inclined in men. Through some studies, it was approved that the relaxing aspect of the sauna bathing and promoting someone’s well-being can be a protective lifestyle.
Men who enjoy saunas regularly proved to have better memory even with age as compared to those who did not have the privileges of the saunas.
2. Reduces the risks of heart disease – there is no specific science for this reason but the relationship between spending time in dry saunas and helping strengthen the heart muscles is irrefutable.
Studies conducted have explained in length the medical terminologies but the actual association is still difficult to explain. To be more specific the use of saunas is tied to the following benefits to the heart:
- Reduces all-cause mortality
- Makes cardiovascular diseases less common
- Reduces the rates of sudden cardiac deaths.
- Reduces the cases of coronary heart diseases
3. Bettering performance in sports – The heat in the dry sauna helps in the perspiration and relaxation of muscles. After a good exercise session, it is relaxing to stay in a dry sauna for a few moments.
Athletes have reported better performance when they pair their workouts and saunas in their regime. This research has not been extensively done so the results may not favor all athletes or any sportsperson. It is, however, advisable for the sportspeople to have dry sauna sessions for their general health benefits.
4. It reduces asthma and/or pneumonia – Dry saunas are credited to reducing the wheezing in people with asthma. Asthma is a chronic condition where the airways in the lungs are narrowed and inflamed making it difficult to breathe. Dry sauna reduces the frequencies of the asthma attacks and the wheezing.
Pneumonia is an infection of one or both of the lungs that causes inflammation in the airways in the lungs and air sacs. A session in a dry sauna reduces the inflammation improving the breathing of the patient. The sessions in the sauna must be monitored and recommended by a medical professional.
5. Offers skin conditions relief – This benefit helps a specific kind of chronic skin condition. The condition is called psoriasis. It is a chronic skin disease that causes scaly, raised, and red patches mainly on the skin around the elbows, scalp, and knees.
The red patches itch or burn causing a lot of discomfort to the person. Dry sauna sessions help reduce the itchiness in people with this kind of chronic skin disease.
6. Lowers high blood pressure – High blood pressure is a long term condition in which the force of blood flow in the arteries is high. This condition is very dangerous to the heart’s health. High blood pressure causes heart diseases. Having sessions in the dry sauna, the blood pressure drops due to the relaxation effect it has on muscles. Lower blood pressure is good for the heart.
7. It helps in reducing the symptoms of rheumatic diseases – Rheumatic diseases are conditions affecting the joints and muscles of a person. Such conditions include rheumatic arthritis, fibromyalgia among others. Regular sessions in dry sauna bathing help with the pain and fatigue caused by the disease.
Dry Sauna Vs Steam Sauna Benefits
We have been looking at the dry saunas whose concept is to provide high heat and low humidity. Steam saunas are in many ways different from the dry saunas but their applications are endlessly similar.
- When the dry sauna has a fireplace used to heat rocks the steam sauna has a generator filled with boiling water meant to heat the space. Steam saunas do not have rocks used just boiled water.
- Dry saunas have high temperatures and low humidity while the steam saunas have significantly lower temperatures and high humidity. This specific difference is what causes the most significant difference between the two sauna types.
- As the dry sauna reduces heart-related diseases, the steam sauna improves the blood circulation around the body.
- Steam saunas have been connected to weight loss as it assists in burning calories. It is because of the difference in the humidity and temperature that causes different benefits of the dry and steam saunas.
- The steam saunas help in promoting skin health. Its heating mechanism causes the skin pores to open and promote healthy-looking skin. As opposed to the dry sauna, it has a specific skin condition to target, steam saunas help all skin types to appear and feel healthy.
- Steam saunas have been reported to reduce the production of cortisol in the body. Cortisol is a steroid hormone. It is also called the stress hormone. Reduced production of this hormone reduces stress in individuals. Dry sauna bathing lacks this specific advantage.
- Steam sauna bathing helps in reducing congestion inside sinuses and the lungs. This helps in reducing the symptoms of the common cold. The dry sauna bathing helps in chronic respiratory diseases like asthma.
- Steam saunas generally improve the immune system of an individual. Dry saunas target specific conditions in the body.
We can safely say one major difference of steam saunas and dry saunas is the fact that dry saunas have targeted remedies while the steam saunas aim for a more holistic effect.
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After such an informative journey, it is safe to conclude that all sauna bathing is much benefited to all persons. With the subtle differences between the dry sauna bathing and steam sauna bathing, it is important to sort out the two types of bathing.
They both have amazing benefits to an individual’s body. With an altering program, one can maximize all the benefits affords. It is advisable to sort out a professional opinion to be aware of personal needs to have the best results from each sauna.
Dry saunas are more applicable in public settings while wet saunas are favored in private settings. The hygiene and technical differences between the two make them suitable for different environments. In my opinion, a dry sauna bathing sounds more exciting and adventurous with the steaming hot rocks and huge fireplaces.
For beauty, happiness, and health, a dry sauna is a place to be.